Essential Tips to Prepare for Microsoft Hiring Process

 November 22, 2021

Are you preparing for Microsoft SDE interview? It is a very important stage in your career, and it's not something to take lightly. You need to be prepared. It's not enough just to have experience with the technology they use; you'll also need excellent communication and analytical skills to succeed in this role.

The questions in Microsoft SDE interviews are quite challenging. You might want the best chance of success and get the most of your Microsoft interview experience, so here are tips to help you prepare and ace the Microsoft interview process.

How Do I Prepare for Microsoft Sde Interview?

Preparation is key to having the best chance of success in your Microsoft interview experience. If you go into a Microsoft SDE interview without enough preparation, there's a good chance that you'll fail. So to help you to be ready, here is the Microsoft hiring process. 

The interview process for Microsoft SDE interview is comprised of 5 stages:

1. Reviewing of resumes, cover letters, and referrals.

2. The recruiter will send the candidate an email/give them a call (T

3. First round: phone screen, on-campus or coding test

4. Second round: on-site interview (usually consists of 4 interviews)

5. Offer

Reviewing of Resumes, Cover Letters, and Referrals

Make sure you have a good cover letter, resume, and referral list. Review your references to ensure that they are willing to speak positively about you. If an interviewer is referred by one of your contacts, it will give them another reason for wanting to hire you. This process can take anywhere from a few days up to a month.

The Recruiter Will Send the Applicant an Email or Call Them

It's designed to screen out applicants that don't meet requirements for further consideration. The recruiter will ask about your work history, why you want to join Microsoft and what makes you suitable for this role (the key skills they are looking for).

This call or email is also a chance for you to ask any questions that are on your mind about the company, role, and interview process itself. You want to make sure this is something worth doing, so be prepared with what you'll be asked, and it will give you an advantage over other candidates who have no questions that have been lined up to ask. These first two steps typically take around 1-2 weeks.

First Round: Phone Screen, On-Campus, or Coding Test

If everything goes well with the recruiter, you'll advance to the next stage of the Microsoft hiring process. This step varies depending on which role and team you're interested in. However, if you're an industry hire, a campus interview is often the case if you're a fresh graduate and an online exam instead of a personal interview. Below, we'll go through each format in detail.

Technical Phone Screen 

The first stage is the "phone screen," which may also be conducted over a video call using Skype. The interview will last around 45 to 60 minutes in total. You'll be asked a variety of behavioral and technical questions by a peer or a potential manager.

For the technical questions, you can expect questions on algorithms and data structure. Because the text editor won't have autocompleted features or syntax highlighting, so you'll need to get used to not using them during your interview preparation.

Behavioral questions are more likely to be addressed in interviews at Microsoft. These questions can help them identify how well your communication style fits the team's expectations and culture.

On-Campus Interview

If you're a student, you'll generally have an on-campus interview rather than a phone screen. You'll be asked a mix of technical and behavioral questions to resolve on a whiteboard. In some instances, you'll have multiple interviews on campus.

Online Coding Assessment

Before moving into the on-site interviews, Microsoft may conduct online coding tests to verify that the applicant can complete simple tasks.

Codility administers a three-question test that you must answer in 60 to 90 minutes; It is Microsoft's most common coding assessment. The questions are typical algorithm and data structure problems for which you must submit a solution in an online editor.

Second Round: On-Site Interview (Usually Consists of Four Interviews)

If you pass the phone screen and coding test, your recruiter will schedule an on-site interview with a team they think is best suited to assess your skills and match you to the job requirements. You'll spend a full day at one of Microsoft's offices and do four on-site interviews.

During the interviews, you'll meet with a group of individuals from the team you're applying to join, including senior executives, hiring managers, and peers. You'll be given a chance to ask questions and discuss the company, role, and interview process itself. 

An on-Site interview usually consists of four Interviews:

Technical On-site Interview 

The first interview is an on-site technical interview. It will be the most difficult of all your interviews because it's mainly about algorithms, data structures, and coding skills. During this round, you'll have to solve problems by writing code in an online editor without any autocomplete features or syntax highlighting tools. Usually, you'll have about thirty minutes to one hour to complete the coding question.

Behavioral On-site Interview 

This might be a Skype call than an in-person meeting with someone on your team or another manager within Microsoft. You can expect questions that are not related to technology at all! They're designed to get insights into how you would function in a team environment.

It is common to be asked about your experience and why Microsoft should hire you. You can expect questions that are not related to technology at all! They're designed to get insights into how well the candidate will fit with the company's culture.

System Design Onsite Interview 

In this final round, you will be given a problem to solve. You're expected to present your design solution to the interviewer. You'll need to be able to concisely describe the pros, cons, and limitations of your solution. It is typically an in-person meeting with someone on your team or another manager within Microsoft.

ASAPP interview

You'll have an interview with someone from the admissions board. You will only be asked to do the "as appropriate" interview if your first three interviews go well, referred to as the "AA or ASAPP" interview. 

As the name implies, you'll be asked questions that are appropriate to your career and application. It is typically a great chance for students to ask more in-depth questions about Microsoft's programs or jobs.

Getting An Offer

If you pass all of your interviews, you'll receive an offer from the team you interviewed with. The recruiter will likely contact you a few days after your on-site interview to give you feedback and discuss the next steps in the hiring process. 

If they decide not to hire or extend a job offer, it is common for them to provide feedback so that students can learn from their Microsoft interview experience.

How My Performance Be Evaluated?

During the Microsoft hiring process, your interviewer will evaluate your performance using a standardized feedback form at the end of each interview. Here are some of the details on the form.

Interview Notes And Competencies Assessment

This includes your responses to questions and the interviewer's comments. These notes are the record of your interview, so it's important to be concise and accurate. Below are some of the details that might be on the interviewer's notes during the Microsoft hiring process:

  • Composure: How well did you speak and converse with others? How well did you share the interviewer's perspective?

  • Problem Solving: How was your problem-solving ability? Did you solve the questions or problems presented to you during each interview?

  • Analytical Ability: Were you able to identify and understand the interviewer's concerns, questions, etc.? Are they satisfied with how well prepared/articulate you were during the interview?

  • Communication: How did you communicate your thoughts and ideas? Did the interviewer feel that you were able to explain yourself clearly and concisely?

  • Creativity: Did you come up with creative solutions to the problems presented during your interview?

  • Ethics: Did you demonstrate honesty and integrity throughout each interview? Were they satisfied that your answers were always truthful, even if they may have hurt or disadvantaged you?

  • Cultural Fit: How well did you fit into Microsoft's culture during the Microsoft interview process? Would they want to work with you? Microsoft values diversity and inclusion, so they will consider your cultural fit.

Hiring Recommendation

This is the interviewer's overall assessment of your chances to get hired. You will be given a hiring recommendation of "definitely hire," "likely hire," or "no hire." The hiring manager will review this feedback, but it is still important to do well in your interviews.

Suggested Follow-UPS

All of the interviewers in your loop can see and use the feedback forms. And for each interviewer, there may be a follow-up topic for your next interview. It is essential to stay in touch with your recruiter for any updates.

Sample Questions

We believe in data-driven interview preparation at Recruitmently, and we've utilized Recruitmently data to determine the most popular questions at Microsoft. Below are a few of the most common Microsoft interview questions:

Coding Questions

Microsoft's software development experts use code to address some of the company's most challenging problems. So, it's vital for candidates also to be able to demonstrate strong coding and programming skills.

Coding problems are usually one of the first things you'll do in your interview loop. You must read all instructions carefully and show off your problem-solving abilities by coming up with

Many different coding questions may be asked during the Microsoft hiring process. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Integer Arithmetic: Given a numerical range, how would you determine if an input falls within this range?

  • Tree Traversal: How do you traverse/manage data in a tree structure with multiple levels?

  • Hash Table: How do you implement a hash table?

  • Dynamic Programming: Given the optimal solution to an NP-hard problem, how would you determine if it is also efficient?

  • Search / Sort:  How would you sort a given set of data?

  • String Manipulation: How do you compare two strings in Java or C++? What are some optimizations that may be helpful to reduce the running time of your code?

  • Bit manipulation / Maths: How do you perform math on a binary level?

There are many other types of coding questions that might be asked during the Microsoft hiring process. To prepare for these, try solving some problems using your favorite programming language or practice an array of different languages. Recruitmently coaches can also help you find the best resources to prepare for your interview.

System Design Questions

Another popular area that Microsoft plays in is designing and building large-scale systems. As such, they often ask candidates to demonstrate their ability to design a scalable system architecture from scratch.

These questions are not always algorithmic-based but instead require you to think about the tradeoffs of various solutions and how these can be optimized for scalability.

These questions can be in any language, but it is crucial to understand the pros and cons of each solution.

Some common system design interview questions include:

  • How would you design an airline reservation system? How would your approach differ from another candidate's proposed architecture?

  • What are different patterns for designing microservices-based applications? How would you implement one of these patterns when building a REST API server?

  • Would you please design an algorithm for removing duplicates from a list?

  • What are the tradeoffs and limitations of your solution in terms of time complexity, space complexity, or any other constraints that may be present?

These are just a few of the many possible system design questions that Microsoft may ask during your interview. You can prepare with the help of our coaches at Recruitmently; they will guide you on the best resources to use for your interview.

Behavioral Questions

Most companies want to hire candidates who are talented at their craft and demonstrate strong, soft skills. Many Microsoft interviewers look for evidence of how you've handled complex situations or scenarios in the past. This is where your ability to tell a compelling story comes into play.

These questions usually start with "Tell me about a time when or Give me an example of how you handled the following situation" Here are some examples:

  • Tell me about a time when your team had a difference of opinion on what should be developed?

  • Tell me about a time where you had to prioritize multiple tasks for your project, and how did that go?

  • What was the most difficult decision you've had to make?

  • What was one of your proudest moments in the past few years, and why?

These questions may be difficult to answer right off the bat, but thinking through your previous work experiences will help you come up with relevant stories. Our Recruitmently coaches can help you practice and prepare for these types of questions.

Tips To Ace SDE Interview

Microsoft interviewers may ask many different types of questions, but the most important thing is to be confident in your skills and ability. Here are some tips to ace the SDE Interview:

  • Practice: Practice is key to mastering any skill. You can start by solving some problems or practicing an array of different languages and asking for feedback from your friends, family, and mentors.

  • Prepare: Be familiar with what Microsoft has been working on in the past few years and prepare questions that you want to be answered during the interview.

  • Be confident: Know the limits of your knowledge and abilities, but never let that be a limiting factor.

  • Take care of yourself: Make sure to eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and stay positive throughout the whole process.

The Microsoft interview process is designed to test your ability as a software engineer, so it is important to go into the interview with confidence.


The Microsoft interview process can be challenging, especially if you're not sure how to prepare. However, with a suitable approach and mindset, you can ace this interview process. 

Expert recruiters at Recruitmently help candidates succeed in the recruitment process by providing interview coaching, career advice, and access to past interviews. Through the guidance of our recruiters,  candidates can learn interview tips, tricks, and strategies to help them succeed.

If you're unsure how to prepare for your upcoming Microsoft interview, let Recruitmently recruiters assist you today.

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